The U.S. Experience with Provincial Reconstruction Teams in Iraq and Afghanistan

TitelThe U.S. Experience with Provincial Reconstruction Teams in Iraq and Afghanistan
Typ der PublikationBook
Untertitel / SerientitelUSIP's Senior Program Officer's Testimony (October 2007)
AutorInnenPerito, R
Anzahl Seiten5 pp.
VerlagUnited States Institute of Peace (USIP)

The U.S. Experience with Provincial Reconstruction Teams in Iraq and Afghanistan
Testimony of Robert Perito, U.S. Institute of Peace senior program officer in the Center for Post-Conflict Peace and Stability Operations, before the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Oversight and InvestigationsProvincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs), used extensively in Iraq and Afghanistan, constitute a new trend in intra-governmental coordination. In an event covered by CNN and C-SPAN, Senior Program Officer Roberto Perito shared his observations about the effectiveness of PRTs and offered recommendations on how to improve them.Conclusions and Recommendations:
While U.S. PRTs vary greatly in size, organization and functions, they share several common problems, which require immediate attention. These can be summarized as follows:
- Improvisation is not a concept of operations: PRTs need an agreed concept of operations and organizational structure with a single chain of command. This should be developed by concerned agencies in Washington and vetted with the field and our allies. It is unfair to expect personnel from various government agencies and the military to agree among themselves on mission priorities in the most difficult operating environments without such guidance.
- Stability Operations is not a game for 'pick up' teams: U.S. civilian agencies need to recruit federal employees with the expertise and skills required to staff PRTs. These permanent agency representatives can train and serve alongside their military counterparts and effectively represent their agencies. This is not possible using commercial contractors or relying upon military reservists to staff civilian functions.
- Silence is not a public information program: The U.S. PRT program suffers from a lack of public information on the nature and results of its efforts. This month, USAID published a magazine, Iraq PRTs, in English and Arabic, which details the activities of PRTs in Iraq. This initiative is commendable but long overdue. In the overwhelming wave of media reporting on Iraq and Afghanistan there are few reports on PRTs. This seemingly is the result of the fact that information is either classified or not readily available.
- Without agreed objectives it is difficult to judge effectiveness: There is a need for both an agreed set of objectives for PRTs and an agreed set of metrics for measuring their performance. Absent a means of determining whether PRTs are effective, it is difficult to determine whether alternative mechanisms might better achieve our purposes. Lack of a means of evaluating PRTs has not prevented their proliferation in Iraq and Afghanistan and talk of creating them in various new operations. Before this occurs, it is time for some objective scrutiny measures of effectiveness.

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